Five Things Great Bear are Doing to Reduce Their Carbon Footprint
As a manufacturer whose products consist of medical-grade PVC we are very conscious of the amount of plastic waste our products produce. Unfortunately, for many, these products are essential and whilst we endeavor to switch to a more sustainable material when a suitable alternative is found, for now, many of our products will be made with plastic. Despite this, Great Bear are committed to taking the steps we can take, however small, to be more environmentally friendly.
Here are some recent adaptions we have made to do our bit to becoming more environmentally friendly.
Removed the Cones From the GB Libra Sheath
Until recently, the GB Libra Sheath came with an integral plastic cone. This cone was intended to help keep the shape of the sheath and to stop the adhesive sticking together at the base. However, research showed that removing the cone had no impact on the standard or wide band sheaths so the decision was made to remove it on these styles. Due to the adhesive placement on the pop on sheaths, the cone remains for this style. Removing the cone has lead to us using nearly half a tonne less plastic a year.
Sourcing New British Suppliers
Great Bear has always looked to produce its core product range in the UK, with a clean room facility set up at our head office in Cardiff for the manufacture of drainage bags. Some of our ancillary products and raw materials however are supplied to us. Wherever possible, we want to utilise more British companies in our supply chain and, in late 2021, switched a major supplier of ours from a company based in the Netherlands to a company based in the UK. This has helped to reduce the emissions caused by transportation of our products.
Whilst our focus will be on our products and supply chain; as this is what has the biggest ecological impact, we are looking at all departments in the organisation to take steps to become more sustainable. Another area we have looked at is our marketing material and whilst we will always have printed brochures for those that need them we do encourage people to utilise our digital resources wherever possible to minimise the amount of printed material required. We have also audited our internal processes and digitalised these where we can; whilst it is not feasible for us to be a paperless office at present, we are greatly reducing the amount of paper we use.
Smarter Working is Greener Working
Prior to March 2020 the majority of employees of Great Bear spent 100% of their working life at the office. Following the Covid-19 pandemic, like many organisations, Great Bear have adopted a hybrid way of working. Allowing a combination of office and remote working has lead to a reduction in commuting for employees which has been proven as having a direct correlation on carbon emissions. Adopting such practices means that unnecessary journeys are not being made, reducing mileage across the board.
Introducing New Packaging Configurations
Sometimes it’s not the product itself that needs to be changed, but the way in which it is packaged. It was largely evident that, in the majority of cases, people were ordering our GB3S Night Bag in multiples of 3 packs at a time, a months’ supply. As our largest mover single-use night bag, we decided to make the product available in packs of 30. One pack of 30 contains 25g less plastic than three packs of ten, which could equate to nearly 1000kg less plastic used over the course of a year, if everyone using packs of ten converted to packs of 30. We have also looked at other packaging options; removing the outer carton and instructions leaflet on our GB Soft Skin Medical Adhesive Remover Spray, for example.